World War 1 (1914 - 1918)


Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William McKay Orr

Service: Army
Unit: 9th Battalion (Glasgow Highlanders), Highland Light Infantry
Rank: Sergeant
Service Number: 331557
Award: Mentioned in Dispatches (2)

William, the youngest of 12 children, was born in Newton Mearns in 1896, son of John and Elizabeth Orr of Greenside, Tofts Works, Newton Mearns. His mother was the daughter of William McKay of Airdrie. His father, born in Paisley, was a master bleacher in the Tofts bleachworks and he died in 1913.
William was educated at Mearns Public School and at Allan Glen's school in Glasgow. He is listed in the 1911 census as still at school. In May 1915, he enlisted and served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from April 1916.

William was killed, aged 22 at the Battle of Selle in France during the last hundred days of the war, on 12 October 1918. He was twice mentioned in Dispatches and was recommended for a decoration for gallant and distinguished service in the field but there is no record on his medal index card to confirm that this was awarded. He is buried in Selridge British Cemetery, Montay, North France - Grave reference I. B. 9 and is also commemorated on Newton Mearns Parish Church War Memorial.

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